Oh weary, mama.
The day in and day out of motherhood can be so exhausting.
I’m not here to tell you it’s worth it because you know that already. You know that what you are doing, as a whole, is awesomely amazing. When you step back and take it all in, it’s truly breathtaking.
You gave birth to or adopted a child, and you are now raising that child. That is—obviously—huge, and you can feel that.
You know that the love you provide to your child helps him understand his place in the world. You know that you are helping to grow the future of our world, and in doing so making the world a better place.
In the grand scheme of things, you know you matter.
What you’ve forgotten is how much you matter in the moments that don’t feel so grand.
Because motherhood is full of tiny acts that no one notices.
Thousands of words, steps, actions and thoughts that pass everyone by—even yourself. When you fall into bed at night, tired to the bone and reflecting on your day, you think, “But I didn’t even DO anything. How can I be THIS exhausted?”
And that, mama, is where you are mistaken.
Those tiny moments that feel like nothing are in fact everything. And they matter so much.
When you cut your lunch break 15 minutes short because if you do that, you can leave work 15 minutes early, which means missing rush hour and making it home in time to read your kids’ bedtime story—it matters.
When you stoop down, brush the hair off your child’s forehead and look her in the eyes as she talks to you—it matters.
When your child, who has climbed into your bed once again, throws an arm out and sticks her thumb directly into your eyeball, and you wince in pain but stay silent so you don’t wake her up—it matters.
That you are the only person in the world that knows your toddler will only eat pancakes if they are cut into strips (NOT BITE SIZE PIECES), or loves Elmo but hates Elmo pajamas, or has to line up his cars perfectly before he can leave for preschool or the 10,973 quirky things that make your child who he is—matters.
When you cancel all your plans to take your child to the pediatrician, only to be told it’s “just a little virus”—it matters.
When you scrape the green beans (or tater tots or Cheerios) he insisted on having and now refuses to eat into the garbage—it matters.
When you put her jacket on, walk her to the car, take her jacket off, put her in the car seat, and then do it all again when you get to where you’re going—it matters.
When he runs into your room in the morning screaming, “I ALL DONE SLEEPING, MOMMY!” and despite your exhaustion, you mumble with a cracked and tired voice, “Hi, sweetie”—it matters.
When you re-pack the diaper bag three times to make sure you have everything you need—it matters.
When you spend two hours crafting an email to your child’s daycare teacher about a concern you have about the dropoff and pickup system—it matters.
When you say ‘no’ to a toy at Target, and then gently but firmly hold your ground, even though it means a 45-minute tantrum—it matters.
Mother Teresa once said, “Do small things with great love.” I believe this to be the very definition of motherhood.
One million seemingly insignificant acts that accumulate into an avalanche of powerful, earth moving, all-consuming love for your child.
And so, weary mama, at the end of a long day, you are allowed to feel tired, and you are allowed to vent. But you are not allowed to doubt your worth.
You are everything.
There’s a child sleeping not far from you who completely agrees. Please don’t let yourself forget that.
Diana is Motherly’s Digital Education Editor. She is a midwife, pediatric nurse and founder ofGathered Birth. She loves all things birth, and is passionate about empowering women to trust themselves and embrace their inner rockstar. Diana lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and 3 amazing, goofy kids.